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Utah football: Utes apply helmet sticker in remembrance of Gaius ‘Keio’ Vaenuku

SHARE Utah football: Utes apply helmet sticker in remembrance of Gaius ‘Keio’ Vaenuku

When Gaius 'Keio' Vaenuku passed away in a car accident en route to Texas on July 30, the Utes football program announced they would wear a sticker on their helmets to honor him.

Today on social media, the University of Utah football trainers published a photo of that sticker.

The sticker, dedicated to Vaenuku's memory, features his initials in a vertical column surrounded by the slogan, "United. Together. Eternal. Soldiers." Vaenuku's jersey number, 95, flanks the central column, the nine on the left and the five on the right.

The sticker is the design work of Justin Dahl, a Farmington native who works in social media and graphic design for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Dahl said he couldn't say no when Utah assistant coach Morgan Scalley asked him for a sticker design to remember and honor Vaenuku.

"You could tell he was really emotional," Dahl said. "It was a really hard day for him."

For inspiration, Dahl turned again to social media. He found a YouTube video in which defensive coach Sharrieff Shah sought to inspire his team during a halftime speech.

"We are Utes," Shah said in the video. "We are United Together Eternally Soldiers."

In addition, several fans and friends of the Utah football program used the phrase on Twitter when news of Vaenuku's death broke. Dahl said the phrase perfectly fit the situation.

"I really thought it was something that should be on the sticker," he said. "It was kind of a rallying cry for the team when the whole thing happened."

Dahl is a fan of Utah football and has been since he joined the MUSS as a student at the University of Utah in 2005. Dahl said he hopes his contribution will help all people connected to Vaenuku on the field, but especially off it.

"It's more than just about football," Dahl said. "It's about the people who were there and the type of impact they can have on each other's lives. … You just want to do something that makes sure people remember him and remember him as the person he was. People can just learn from it and be better."

Landon Hemsley is the sports web producer for DeseretNews.com. Email: lhemsley@deseretnews.com. Twitter.com/EarlOfHemsley